Perfect Fantasy Football Draft: 1st in a 12-Team ESPN PPR League

Aug 14, 2022
Perfect Fantasy Football Draft: 1st in a 12-Team ESPN PPR League

Drafting from the first spot in fantasy football this year is an absolute luxury. Every player is available to your liking. The strategies are endless. This includes securing a top running back for a hero running back build or hammering elite wide receivers early and going zero running back. Personally, I think locking down an elite running back is by far a massive advantage. They don’t come too often so when the opportunity presents itself, taking advantage is key.

This article will walk through the perfect draft from the first spot in a 12-team ESPN PPR league. Each pick was optimized using projections and value-based rankings from the 4for4 Draft Hero tool.


More Perfect Drafts: 6th in a 12-Team ESPN PPR League | 1st in a 12-Team Superflex League | 2nd in a 12-Team ESPN PPR League | 1st in a 12-Team Yahoo! Half-PPR League


Draft Hero Settings

  • Roster Settings: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex (RB/WR/TE), 1 Kicker, 1 DEF, 6 bench spots
  • No QB before Round 6: In a one-quarterback league I like to hold out for my quarterback until at least Round 6. While it may be enticing to take a top-tier talent, it is much more important to fill out the other positions since you are starting at least two of them. It is easy to find a potential QB1 after the first six rounds.
  • No Kicker or D/ST until the last two rounds: I can’t stress this enough. There is too much variance when it comes to kickers and defenses. Don’t spend a higher draft pick on either of them. There are still good depth pieces at running back and wide receiver in the later rounds that could be contributors to your roster.
  • Limit 1 QB, K, D/ST: There is no need to draft more than one at any of these positions. Fill out your bench with dart throws who could become something. When the time comes, either drop your current kicker or defense for a new one or let go of one of the deep stashes on your bench who will never see your starting lineup.

Jump to Pick 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Draft Recap

Round 1, Pick 1 (1) – RB Christian McCaffrey, Panthers

With the first pick, it was a no-brainer to go running back. Being able to roster a stud running back sets your team up for immediate success and allows for some flexibility throughout the draft. This decision really came down to Christian McCaffrey and Jonathan Taylor. While Taylor is the safer pick as there are much fewer injury concerns and offensive line issues, this pick was all about the ceiling. No other player in fantasy football has as high of a ceiling as McCaffrey when healthy. Even if he misses a few games, he is a league-winner with his pass-catching ability.

Draft Hero also suggested other players such as Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson, and Derick Henry. I was adamant about going running back here, so the two wide receivers were never really a thought. As for Henry, while he has been a beast for the last few years, we finally saw him go down with a foot injury. As good as he’s been if given the option between two running backs coming back from injury, give me the one who has a realistic chance at drawing 100 targets in the passing game.

Each round, Draft Hero also offers the top available suggestion along with four alternatives, as shown at the top of this section. Throughout the rest of the article, I will note those suggestions as well as my top alternative to the player that I actually selected.

Suggested Alternatives: Cooper Kupp, Jonathan Taylor, Justin Jefferson, Derrick Henry

My Top Alternative: Jonathan Taylor

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